St Judes Café brings together Narre Warren community

The cosy café at Japara’s St Judes residential aged care home was bustling with activity on Wednesday 12 December, as people gathered to celebrate a special partnership between Japara and Wallara.

Wallara, a not-for-profit organisation supporting people living with a disability, is working with Japara St Judes to run a café at the home.

The project allows Wallara to provide training and employment opportunities for their clients and creates a lively hub and gathering place for Japara residents, families, staff, and the wider community.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan, praised the partnership, saying that the initiative would help build friendships and create a happier environment overall.

“It excites me that we’ve got two wonderful organisations coming together, to stimulate people’s lives, give people dignity, and bring the community into the home,” he said.

Daniel Gray is one of Wallara’s clients who has been working in the café, alternating between the roles of taking customers’ orders, serving, and making coffee.

“I’m looking forward to learning new skills and maybe opening my own café one day, which I would call Cool Kitchen,” he said.

Sally Karnakowski said that she was enjoying learning customer service, handling money and how to make coffee.

Residents are also relishing the café, which is decorated with vintage kitchen memorabilia such as cake tins, tea canisters, cooking utensils and vintage advertisements.

St Judes Home Manager Milly Kuranage said that the ‘memory’ theme added to the experience of the café.

“One of our residents told me that the decor in our café took her back to a lovely place that she had visited as a 9-year-old child,” she said.

“Our residents and families have embraced the café, and I’ve received a number of compliments from families and residents alike.”

The café is currently open on Monday and Wednesday, from 9am to 3pm, with plans to increase opening hours in 2019.

The café will also be taking a Christmas break, and shut from 24 December to 16 January.


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